Yesterday, I came upon a headline in my news feed called “The Rise of TV’s ‘Anti-Mom’.” I don’t really recommend the article, but I was alarmed by its main points. It summarized the evolution of the way mothers are portrayed in popular television programs, tracing their history from Beaver’s mom and Donna Reed, to Carol Brady, Mrs. Huxtable, and then into Rosanne and some current mother characters in “Desperate Housewives” and “Modern Family.” The implications are obvious. What society expects from mothers has drastically changed. We now celebrate, cheer for, and empathize with what the article calls “flawed moms,” claiming that the happy, organized mothers of the past “set up an atmosphere for women that was just impossible to actually stand by.”
Reading it made me sad. And it didn’t even touch on the dangerous “reality” TV moms. The very concept of “anti-mom” shows a shift from concern and care for others to an obsession with self and individualism. I immediately thought of Sister Julie Beck’s recent talk and this bold claim:
“A lot of the antifamily messages that you are hearing are targeting young women. Satan knows that he will never have a body; he will never have a family. He will target those young women who create the bodies for the future generations and who should teach the families. They don’t even know what they’re being taught in the messages. It’s just seeping in, almost through their pores. Because Satan can’t have it, he’s luring away many women, and also men, and they’re losing conﬁdence in their ability to form eternal families.
. . . Anti-Christ is antifamily. Any doctrine or principle our youth hear from the world that is antifamily is also anti-Christ. It’s that clear. They need to know that if it’s antifamily, it’s anti-Christ. An anti-Christ is antifamily.”
I’m not on any national news feed, but since I feel like one of the main purposes of my blog is to defend the divinity of motherhood, I just can’t keep my mouth shut. I know that motherhood is more than a job. It certainly requires more than an actress. It is a calling, a purpose, a mission. And despite what the media chooses to portray, motherhood is powerful, important, and critical to the happiness of families and society in general. I’ll just let truth speak for itself:
There is, as we all know, much talk about family values, but rhetoric, by itself, cannot bring reform. Nostalgically, many wish for the family life of yesteryear; they regard family decline as regrettable but not reversible. Others, genuinely worried over the spilling social consequences, are busy placing sandbags downstream, even when the frenzied use of sandbags often destroys what little is left of family gardens. A few regard the family as an institution to be drastically redefined or even to be rid of.
. . . The hard doctrines, however, insist that we ask some hard questions. How can a nation nurture family values without consistently valuing and protecting the family in its public policies? How can we value the family without valuing parenting? And how can we value parenting if we do not value marriage? How can there be “love at home” without love in a marriage? So many selfish tugs draw fathers and mothers away from each other and away from their children. . . .
We may not be able to change such trends, but we can refuse to be a part of them. When parents fail to transmit testimony and theology along with decency, those families are only one generation from serious spiritual decline, having lost their savor. The law of the harvest is nowhere more in evidence and nowhere more relentless than in family gardens!” — Neal A. Maxwell
“In my opinion, members of the Church have the most effective cure for our decaying family life. It is for men, women, and children to honor and respect the divine roles of both fathers and mothers in the home. In so doing, mutual respect and appreciation among the members of the Church will be fostered by the righteousness found there. . . . Confusion and disorder are all too common in society, but they must not be permitted to destroy our homes.” –James E. Faust
“In an era when the role of women is being questioned and examined as never before, we can know of a certainty the Lord’s plan of joy for each of his children, and how we, his beloved daughters, fit into that plan. As a result, we are able to stand firm as the tides of uncertainty and despair wash around us.” — Lynn Fortin
In my opinion, the teaching, rearing, and training of children requires more intelligence, intuitive understanding, humility, strength, wisdom, spirituality, perseverance, and hard work than any other challenge we might have in life. This is especially so when moral foundations of honor and decency are eroding around us. For us to have successful homes, values must be taught, and there must be rules, there must be standards, there must be absolutes. Many societies give parents very little support in teaching and honoring moral values. A number of cultures are becoming essentially valueless, and many of the younger people in those societies are becoming moral cynics.
As whole societies have decayed and lost their moral identity and so many homes are broken, the best hope is to turn greater attention and effort to the teaching of the next generation—our children. In order to do this, we must first reinforce the primary teachers of children. Chief among these are the parents and other family members. The best environment should be in the home. Somehow, someway, we must try harder to make our homes stronger so that they will stand as sanctuaries against the unwholesome, pervasive moral dry rot around us. Harmony, happiness, peace, and love in the home can help give children the required inner strength to cope with life’s challenges. — James E. Faust
“Oh, my brothers and sisters, the sons and daughters of God, the members of Christ’s church, the people of all religious affiliations, the people of all nations, let us take this general panacea and heal our wounds and immunize our children against evil by the simple process of teaching and training them in the way of the Lord. Every father and mother in Zion, and every Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Mohammedan, and all other parents have the same responsibility: to teach their children to pray and walk uprightly before the Lord!” — Spencer W. Kimball
We need to reclaim our role as mothers who know. When we do it as a group, we can make a difference in the world. As a team, we can show our children and others’ children a better way of doing family. We can build a generation with tools for happiness and worthy of God’s blessings. We have to, because there’s simply no room for the “anti-mom” in Zion.